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  • Created on: 15-05-17 20:35

To what extent did the British control India in 18

The role of the EIC and the governor general:

  • Parliament passed acts to ensure financial solvency of Company; extending their control over it, acted as a regularised subsidiary of the Crown.
  • Charter Act 1813- government renewed Company's charter for another 20years but removed its monopoly on Indian trade (bar tea with China).
  • EIC more involved in civil administration + tax collection of British territories in India.
  • Collapse of Mugal Empire= EIC acted as a self-funding agent of imperialism for the Gov.
  • Aggressive territorial acquisition- annexations from 1829-57, control had been extended from the 3 presidencies and included the NE and NW provinces; all governed and administered by EIC.

The East India Company:

  • 3 private armies with the company presidencies (Bengal, Madras + Bombay), to support local trading interests and support its local collaborators.
  • Private fortunes made by Company nabobs, led to corruption so the Regulating Act 1773 created a governing council, the majority being parliamentary.
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To what extent did the British control India in 18

  • 1784 act made EIC subordinate to the Crown, Board of Control set up to achieve this.
  • 1786 act enabled the governor general's executive power by overiding his council (appointments, although nominated by company, were at Crown's discretion).
  • Parliament renewed their charter in 1813/33- but reduced + ended their commercial monopoly on trade (political doctrine on free trade altered relationship between Parliament + EIC).
  • Charter act 1813: ended monopoly on trade bar tea, education for Indians, missionaries permitted to preach and teach English in company territories.
  • 1833 act ended commercial activities, reorganised administrative system of British territories.
  • EIC's function went from commerce to administration= British reps saw themselves as rulers.
  • Now more focused on tax collection and local administration.
  • Company able to produce large private armies= role as tax collector.
  • Local rulers allied with British to ensure protection from other rulers and to ensure smooth collection of taxes from their subjects.
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To what extent did the British control India in 18

The role of the governor:

  • Position of governor under ultimate control of the Crown from 1773.
  • Initially, presidents of EIC territory couldn't make war/accept peace from a prince without the governors approval in Fort William, Bengal.
  • 1784 India Act strengthened the executive power of the governor.
  • Supplementary act 1786 enabled them to overide their council if deemed necessary.
  • Cornwallis (1st governor with these new powers); commander-in-chief of military forces.
  • Bengal governor controlled foreign policy= so all the India legislation passed between 1774/84, gov regulation + control was extended over the EIC.
  • Centralisation of power= Bengali governor pre-eminent over other 2 presidencies.
  • 1833 (Gov of India Act)= govenor general of Fort William now concurrent gov general of India.
  • New gov general= Bentinck (responsible for foreign policy of territories + administration, legislative control over Company's territory).
  • Bentinck= utalitarianism (greatest happiness for the greatest number).
  • Role of governor changed from the co-ordination of treaties w/local rulers to the administration/legislation of all territory under British control.
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To what extent did the British control India in 18

The importance of Bengal and the Company Army:

  • White or sepoy regiments within armies; under command of EU officers.
  • Bengali army traditionally recruited from the highest castes (Brahmins/Rajputs).
  • Armies ensured local rulers signed treaties with the Company= protection, superiority.
  • Collected tax and took on administration roles; territory increased due to professionalism.
  • Increased focus on training= Company's change in focus to civil administration (not purely a commercial company anymore).
  • 1830s= wanted to subdue the NW frontier; fear of Russian invasion.
  • First Afghan war cost British India 20,000 lives + £15million; made Company determied to secure the Sind + Punjab in compensatory conquest.
  • Sind formally annexed in 1843, Punjab controlled by 1849.
  • Punjabi soldiers bitter towards native sepoys of Bengali company; company exploited local tensions to expand presence in the subcontinent.
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To what extent did the British control India in 18


  • Most important presidency in the Company; president was the governor general of all the territory controlled by the EIC (after Gov of India act 1833).
  • Cornwallis developed its administrative structure; land divided into districts under a collector + landholders had rights to land for fixed tax liabilities.
  • Legal administration exacted by local judges/magistrates.
  • Had a bigger private army; recruited from higher castes (sensitive to anything polluting caste).
  • Sepoys of Bengali army were recruited from other provincs (Awadh).
  • Pivotal role in annexation of Punjab + the emnity of Sikhs towards the sepoys was part of the explanation for British survival during the rebellion 1857.
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Causes/significance of cultural clashes between Br

  • Racial superiority; company operators less tolerant of local cutoms + religions, seeked to change societies they now governed due to disintegration of Mughal Empire.
  • Sought to modernise India; cultural superiority emerged in company staff (paternalistic desire to change and improve Indians).
  • Racial harmony disrupted by growth of Evangelical Christianity + arrival of British women.
  • Christians campaigned for abolition of slavery, as saw other religions as inferior.
  • Missionaries tried to convert Muslims/Hindus/Sikhs/Buddhists= destabilised social systems.
  • Cultural division between company employees + Indians with arrival of women; race divisons were fixed as racial intermingling became taboo.
  • Tensions built and led to rebellion; end of company rule + establishment of British Raj.
  • British challenged religious + social structures = mutiny broke out in Bengali army 1857 so different social groups were inspired to raise own rebellion.
  • Dalhousie + Bentinck (utalitarianism) instituted civil reform as company was focused on modernisation.
  • Bentinck- abolisged thagi + sati, allocated company funds for education to only English-speaking institutions, English official new language of Gov.
  • Dalhousie- impatient with social structures and inefficiency of princely states.
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Causes/significance of cultural clashes between Br

Sleeman's campaign against thagi:

  • Thagi= highway robbery/ritual murder, from 1836-48 legal acts passed outlawing thagi + dacoity, the suppression of thagi was an attempt to modernise India.
  • Campaign led by Sleeman in 1835; Thugge + Dacoity department created.
  • 1,000 thagi transported/hanged for crimes + 3,000 tried/punished.
  • Action against thagi led to British self-congratulation as the thagi only attacked other Indians.
  • Thagi activity more prevalent in central/Northern India; acted in small bands.
  • Sleeman's involvement in its supression= seen as a true imperial hero in Britain.
  • Accepted and welcomed by Indians at the time.

Drive against sati and female infanticide:

  • Act of Abolition 1829 against sati (tradition of self-immolation by Hindu widows on funeral pyres of husbands), reflected Hindu beliefs in sanctity of marriage bond.
  • Common among higher castes; common in Bengal presidency.
  • 1829; campaign by Evangelicals like Wilberforce and Bentinck= abolished sati.
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Causes/significance of cultural clashes between Br

  • British company officials disliked it but didn't act on abolishing it; personal agenda of Bentinck made the aboliton happen earlier.
  • Company banned it in Calcutta in 1798 + Wilberforce forced amendment to the charter act to allow missionaries to preach against sati/Hindu practices.
  • Ram Mohan Roy (Hindu religious philosopher) began campaign against it in 1818; supported Bentinck against efforts made to reverse the law by Privy council.
  • Law only applied to territory under company but many princely states followed.
  • Most sati that continued occured in Punjab, until it came under British control.
  • Outlawed in India by 1861; higher-caste Indians saw it as an attack on caste purity + presumption of cultural superiority.
  • Bentinck's efforts improved Indian women's lives.
  • Contributed to discontent towards British rule; intervention in religous/cultural beliefs.
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Causes/significance of cultural clashes between Br

The impact of missionaries:

  • Many company officials opposed them; avoid further trouble in territory they controlled.
  • 1st missionaries arrived in Bengal; banned from Calcutta + forced to settle in Danish territory.
  • The Baptist mission concentrated on education and translation of the Bible into Bengali.
  • Wilberforce forced amendment to charter act 1813; blanket ban on missionaries removed, Protestant missionaries arrived in increasing numbers in India.
  • Anglicans + Baptists engaged in educating Indians and campaigned against sati.
  • 1830; Alexander Duff arrived in Bengal + promoted English teaching in schools (attract higher caste Hindus to Christianity, naturally convince them of Christianity's superiority).
  • Contributed towards the debate on allocation of company funding for higher education for Indians.
  • Evangelicals in favour; new educated class would weaken dominance of Brahmin caste.
  • Evangelical pressure led to Education act 1835 and English the offfical language of Gov.
  • Stimualted Bengal Renaissance; Indian social reform movement.
  • Added to undercurrents of oppostion that company officials faced with taxing territories and added to complex social mix.
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Immediate causes of 1857 rebellion + how did Briti

Dalhousie's reforms:

  • Responsible for ending company rule due to reckless policies (gov general 1848-56).
  • Moderniser/utalitarian- 1st railroads + telegraph line built + Penny post introduced.
  • By assuming British paramountcy, first condition=stated that British would/should intervene in the affairs of a native state (saw no reason to continue alliances with princely states).
  • Under the Doctrine of Lapse, state passed directly into British control (conflict w/Hindu law).
  • 2nd condition for interference= misgovernment of state.
  • 3rd condition= redefinition of ruler's titles and powers as non-hereditary.

The annexation of Awadh 1856:

  • Occured under the doctrine of lapse; primary cause of rebellion, Dalhousie's worst error.
  • Awadh was a prosperous province, would benefit company to control= was the 7th annexation to occur under the new Dalhousie policy.
  • Resented in Awadh (traditional recruiting ground of sepoys of Bengali army).
  • British announced that land would be taken from all landowners unable to prove legal title.
  • Attack on established social order= destabilising, started uprising.
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Immediate causes of 1857 rebellion + how did Briti

Outbreak of rebellion + events in Meerut:

  • Rumours amongst Sepoys that new cartridges were lubricated w/animal fat= Hindu's + Muslim's at risk of defilement.
  • Seemed to prove plan of Christianisation, ignited resentments against missionaries, interference in religious practices, English as official language + upheaval to the pattern of rural landownership in Awadh.
  • Bengal army already uneasy due to General Service Enlistment Act 1856.
  • Only applied to new recruits, Sepoys feared that they too would have to serve abroad (very contentious issue as recruitment drew from higher caste Hindus).
  • Following court martial of 85 sepoys for refusing to load new rifles in May 1857, all 3 sepoy regiments rose rebelled, massacred all local Europeans (women and children included).
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Immediate causes of 1857 rebellion + how did Briti

Cawnpore and Delhi:

  • Mutiny spread rapidly throughout the rest of the Bengal army.
  • British temporarily lost control of Awadh, Delhi + some centres within Punjab.
  • In Awadh, discontended talukdars (landowners) joined with family of sepoys in Bengali army.
  • Peasants began uprising (angry about changing land structures/excessive taxes).
  • Rani of Jhansi was a head of an anti-British force (symbol of nationalist resistance to British).
  • In Cawnpore, British had to surrender, promised safe conduct in boats but during transfer, 400 killed, the rest were massacred the day before relief arrived.

Siege + relief of Lucknow:

  • Lucknow= enduring symbol of British resistance.
  • Held out against attack under Lawrence the Governor for 5 months.
  • 1st relief reached Lucknow, 87 days after the siege began.
  • Couldn't immediately evacuate= remained there as buried stores were found.
  • 2nd relief led by Campbell (conscious of stretched supply lines) so evacuated/abandoned it.
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Immediate causes of 1857 rebellion + how did Briti

Reasons why the British retained control:

  • Rebels weren't a cohesive force; mutineers, Awadh landowners, oppressed peasants, local leaders unwilling to co-operate together to forge a national revolt.
  • Awadh closest to representing a unified challenge from all social levels due to British actions there + their familial links to mutineering sepoys in the Bengali army.
  • Other 2 presidency armies remained loyal to Britian, area around Calcutta unaffected.
  • Punjabi sepoys held a grudge against Bengali sepoys.
  • Able to exploit local religious + political divisions= continued survival after mutiny.
  • Competiting rebel blocks unable to forget differences to unify against the British, the alliances between British + local allies sometimes proved enduring.
  • British rule remained acceptable due to their record and local support ensured their continuing presence; Company taxes better than local alternative on offer.
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Immediate causes of 1857 rebellion + how did Briti

Results of the rebellion:

  • Punishment of rebels; entire villages massacred, Cawnpore mutineers forced to lick blood off buildings, eat pork/beef and then hanged. Strapped to canons + killed. Slaughtered + killed.
  • Lessons drawn from London; creaky machinery of Company + its presidency armies were to blame for the crisis.

End of company rule:

  • Government of India act 1858 ended company rule; now ruled directly by Britain through a viceroy who was accountable to parliament.
  • Royal proclamation issued; promised religious toleration, equal protection under the law and the rights of native princes to their lands were protected.
  • Annexation of territory ceased and princes now collaborators.
  • In Awadh, accomodation made with the talukdars= steered clear of land reform which challenged feudal ties.
  • Debt of rebellion transferred to the new Raj; taxation system revamped (income tax on wealthier urban groups).
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Immediate causes of 1857 rebellion + how did Briti

  • Officials continued to proselytise out of official policy as they couldnt prevent missionary activity; moves against religious customs were taken with extreme caution.
  • Laws on Sati and female infanticide remained; 1891 marrige age raised from 10 to 12.
  • Evangelicals unbeknowgst to their role in mutiny; London Missionary society send 20 more.
  • Racial prejudice, segregation + racial hatred grew amongst white imperialists.
  • Mutiny meant withdrawing into a tight enclave, Indian nationalism grew and more liberal policies from Britain= cycle repeated.

Changes to the Indian army:

  • Indian sepoys reduced by 40%, British increased by 50%.
  • Recruitment switched from the Brahmin + Rajput Hindu castes to areas deemed more loyal.
  • Adjacent regiments had different ethnic backgrounds to prevent spread of mutiny; sepoys were to come from different geographical areas and ethnicities (could use whatever grease).
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Immediate causes of 1857 rebellion + how did Briti

Longer-term lessons of the rebellion:

  • Modernising agenda of Bentinck + Macaulay misjudged; stemmed from cultural superiority.
  • Modernisation sprang from utilitarianism; believed that if they adopted Christianity and received Western education, they'd be ready for democratic self-government.
  • Attitudes of British imperialists were no longer self-confident which characterised the modernising agenda of the pre-rebellion British in India= policy now more pragmatic.
  • Still wanted India for wealth but less inclined to educate or develop Indian society.
  • Alliance with conservative forces in princely states upheld, focus on infrastructure and railways.
  • Avoided famine to keep natives content, officials saw themselves as taking up the "white man's burden".
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